Fine Motor skills – Marble Transferring activity

One of our favourite activities is this simple marble transferring activity which helps develop hand eye coordination, concentration, fine motor control, and the ability to be persistent when presented with a difficult task.

This activity helps to build the following skills:

  • focus/concentration
  • hand-eye coordination
  • working from left to right (like when we read)
  • doing things in order
  • one-to-one counting

First, set up your activity.  Place marbles  in a dish that is easy for your child to get his hand in and out of.
Make sure the dish with the marbles in it is on the left and the ice cube tray is on the right.   (Remember, we’re working on working from left to right. My little one eventually moved the dish to the right and nothing much i could do about it.!)


Choose one marble and place it in the hole at the top left corner.

Sometimes Rayes tries to sneak two or three marbles in his hand but I don’t let him do that because it usually causes him to lose his concentration and he forgets where the next one goes.

Place the next marble in the hole just to the right of the first marble. The third marble goes in the top right hole.

The fourth marble will go in the second hole down on the left (just under where you put the first marble).


Continue placing marbles in the holes, one at a time, left to right, until the ice cube tray is full!!




Then, starting at the top left hole, place the marbles back in the dish, one at a time.  Work in the same pattern  (left to right) as you did when you put the marbles in the holes.



It is also fun for your kid to count each object as he places it in/takes it out to get in some good one-to-one counting practice.

You can also try this activity with:

  • different ice cube trays
  • different objects (beads, coins, cheerios, small erasers, pom poms etc.)
  • an egg carton instead of an ice cube tray
It may seem a little stingy to have a “right” way to put the objects in the holes, but I’m of the opinion that kids do better when there’s a “right” way to complete an activity. 

Kids (even little kids) know when they’re doing something “right” and they will be more proud of themselves upon completion of the activity and more focused during the activity when following specific guidelines (i.e. left to right, one at a time, etc.). 

I thought Rayes would have a much harder time with this at first but he caught on right away and he was pretty proud of himself when he finally got all the marbles into the trays. !!


3 thoughts on “Fine Motor skills – Marble Transferring activity

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